Author Topic: How Long ?  (Read 936 times)

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Offline Mikey N.C.

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How Long ?
« on: November 23, 2018, 01:29:33 pm »
Question
For those in really cold climates during winters. How many days or months do you not see any activity at or around hives ?
And if no signs, how do you know if bees are still alive ?

Offline Jen

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2018, 02:14:53 pm »
Hi Mikey  :) For us here in upper northern Calif weather is always iffy all year long, erratic. If I haven't seen the bees for a few days or more, I do what I'm told Not to do, and that is I put my ear right up against to the middle part of the hive and lightly, softly, knock knock knock, wait for the rrrrr. If I don't hear anything I knock a little harder, if I still don't hear anything, I give it a third knocking. If by the third knocking I don't hear a rrrRRRrrr, I might lift the lid and listen and maybe give a gusty blow into the frames. 


I know I know... we're told not to do that. But I seriously doubt that a hive is going to croak because I knock on the sides of the hive.
There Is Peace In The Queendom

Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2018, 02:52:37 pm »
Thanks jen,
Yea i know about knock knock who's there, temps getting around freezing at night now.

Hive on left bees are up in 2 nd deep, box on right bees are still in bottom deep, both have a 10 frame med. fully capped honey with 2" shim and no cook sugar cakes on top. With 2 " insulation board in telecover above inner cover. I used some commercial sticky back asphalt like roofing material,  to wrap this year. Had to use stick pins cause it was cold and didn't want to stick well.
I just have to wait until 45°F to see any activity,  so was wondering with boxes covered in snow how do you know.

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2018, 05:38:18 pm »
I like to keep the entrances swept clean of any snow.  We don't get that much snow here, but I like to keep air flowing. 
Each hive has it's own personality.  This afternoon I walked out to the hives in the backyard.  Overcast day and 50 degrees. Only 1 colony was coming and going.  They were all flying yesterday, so I am not worried. 
I will give them a knock at the door like Jen  suggested.  On days above 45 degrees, I will quickly lift the lid and peek in if I am really concerned.   It's nice to know when they died, but it's better to know why they died when they did. 
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Offline riverbee

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2018, 09:33:18 pm »
"For those in really cold climates during winters. How many days or months do you not see any activity at or around hives ?
And if no signs, how do you know if bees are still alive ?"
 

"so was wondering with boxes covered in snow how do you know"


i use a stethoscope........ :)

mikey, many days, many months, depending on weather and temps, can be from late september to march or even april.  bees cluster at about 57 df. the colder the temps the tighter they cluster. it is said that bees cannot fly at 50 df, but i have seen them fly at this temp as bakersd said. it is said that at 42 df bees cannot move, they are tightly clustered. until a warmer day with sunshine during winter months, then i might see some activity.  once a freeze hits here and sets in, i rarely see activity from a hive. so what do i do?

sounds like you have given your bees the best chance of survival mikey with honey stores, sugar bricks and wrapping. i do the same.

when boxes are covered in snow or i am unsure of whether a hive is alive or not, i go through a routine, i heft the hive, i usually know what was placed on the hive before i open it to take a peek, and i use a stethoscope.  i can hear them without bumping/knocking on the hive with the stethoscope.
if not, i give the box a little knock. just light enough to elevate the 'buzz'. i know what i placed in for sugar bricks so i typically don't open a hive unless i think/gauge that they need more.

a stethoscope is a good thing to have.  also, just use a stapler to attach wrapping material, works much better than stick pins, and you can move quickly and get hives wrapped in a short period of time. 
i keep wild things in a box..........™
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Offline Some Day

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Offline neillsayers

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2018, 11:26:39 pm »
Some Day,

That is an intriguing idea. If the temp in the hive is higher than the outside temp, you still have bees. I like it. :)

Been looking at infrared camera adaptor for smartphone to achieve the same ends.
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Offline CBT

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2018, 07:42:46 am »
A flir would a great gift. Mighty pricey  :'(

Offline Jacobs

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2018, 07:26:03 am »
Ear to side of hive, or stethoscope.  I'm not sure of hive strengths, but heard buzzing in all home hives after a foot of snow here--the first time I have had snow high enough to completely close lower entrances.  A few bees started flying when it hit 44F here yesterday afternoon.  Mine will fly at considerably lower temperatures if it is sunny.  I keep a jar of honey water feed out all year (when they will take it) and water.  Bees know it is there and seem to fly out for a snack and bathroom flight at a little cooler temperatures than my bees in other locations do.

Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2018, 12:56:01 pm »
Jacobs,
So you community feed during winter months.  Just for insurance?

Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2018, 12:57:46 pm »
What ratio , honey-water?

Offline Jacobs

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2018, 01:43:25 pm »
Very dilute--5 oz. honey in half a gallon mix.  It is not for insurance, but more as a gauge of what is going on in the neighborhood.  If the bees finish a pint in half an hour, there is little nectar around.  If it takes the better part of the day for multiple hives to empty the 1 pint, they are getting nectar somewhere else and are stopping at this feeder more or less as an afterthought.  If they ignore the jar and the honey water spoils, they have good nectar sources in the neighborhood.  In "winter"  I leave it out even though it may take bees days to empty 1 pint.  They may be flying for very short periods during the day, but if the sun is out, and the sun angle is right, you can see bees doing bathroom flights either on the way to the jar or on the way back to the hive.   I refer to my set up jokingly as a "Jacobs nectarometer" rather than as a feeder.

Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2018, 06:20:28 pm »
Nectarometer,
how how. Great advice.

Offline gtrr4

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2018, 07:43:18 pm »
I put sugar cakes on my hives yesterday and I would say 40% of the cluster were down in the lower brood box.  All the others were in the top box.

Offline SoulflyUA

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2018, 01:22:45 am »
In Ukraine winters are really cold something and bees don't fly from October till March or even April. Don't disturb them till early January and add sugar powder cakes if needed.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 06:26:12 am by SoulflyUA »

Offline Zweefer

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Re: How Long ?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2019, 10:28:02 pm »
I live by riverbee, and will echo her statement on lack of movement. If I can get to them, I just put my ear to the side and listen. If I don’t hear anything I’ll give the side a quick rap with my knuckles and then I always hear something if the hive is alive...


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